Unless you just freshly came off the boat or you’ve spent your time in the Netherlands underneath a rock, you’ve probably heard of Serious Request. The concept is simple: Wait till it is almost Christmas, put 3 deejays in a glass house somewhere in the Netherlands from where they make non-stop radio, let people pay to request their favorite songs and collect a lot of money for a good cause in the process. To add to the challenge, the deejays are not allowed to eat any food; the only thing they can have is fruit or vegetable juice.
It all started back in 2004, when radio 3FM disk jockeys Wouter van der Goes, Claudia de Breij and Giel Beelen had themselves locked up in the first version of the glass house, on Neude in Utrecht. The habit of choosing a cause that is more or less neglected, that for some reason isn’t all over the news, was started then by making the consequences of the genocide in Darfur the center of attention. Almost 1 million euros were collected and a pre-Christmas tradition was born.
Constant factor in those past years (he just missed 2 out of the 10 editions so far) is Haarlem-born and based Giel Beelen. Now that the glass house is finally coming to his hometown, he decided to skip this year and let fellow-habitant Gerard Ekdom come next to him when it comes to the number of times they’ve been in the house. However, this does not mean – at all! – he won’t participate. Giel feels he can make himself much more useful outside the house, motivating and mobilizing people from and around Haarlem, a city that turns out to be a hotbed of musical talent.
Local heroes: Gitaarlem
Only in Haarlem you can meet Jacqueline Govaert at the Jopenfestival or run into Chef’Special’s Joshua Nolet in Albert Heijn. And on the way back chances are you’ll see the Speelman & Speelman van parked somewhere or, if you live more towards Heemstede, spot Roel van Velzen taking out the trash. Now Giel Beelen made these great artists, together with some more local heroes, join forces on the album Gitaarlem (Guitarlem), featuring the best music of Haarlem. On december 23rd in Patronaat there will be the live edition of Gitaarlem. All revenues of the album and concert go straight to Serious Request!
2014’s Edition: contribute!
So when December 18th will come and the glass house opens on Grote Markt you should be there! Or be there on any other day before the house closes again on the 24th, walk by when you go to work, leave some change after shopping, buy the Gitaarlem album, or participate in an auction. This year the money collected will be used to help women and girls who have become the victim of sexual violence in areas of conflict. Still too often rape is used as a mean of warfare, destroying these women’s and girls’ lives. Last year, when Serious Request came from Leeuwarden, over 12 million euros were collected. The goal for this year, in our own Haarlem, is to exceed this. Hands off our girls and donate or contribute otherwise.
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